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Head coach says pressure is on Italy and Wales ahead of Cardiff clash

15 Mar 2024 2 minute read
Italy head coach Gonzalo Quesada (left) and defence coach Photo Marius Goosen.Adam Davy/PA Wire.

Italy head coach Gonzalo Quesada believes pressure will be on both teams in Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations clash against Wales.

Wales must win to have any chance of avoiding a first Six Nations wooden spoon since 2003 after losing their opening four games.

Italy, meanwhile, have propped up the final table every season for the past eight years.

But the Azzurri have arrived in Cardiff on the back of drawing with France and beating Scotland, increasing prospects of them repeating their Principality Stadium victory in 2022.


“A very difficult match awaits us. The pressure will be on both teams,” Quesada told the Italian Rugby Federation’s official website.

“Wales are hungry for points, and they will say goodbye to one of their greatest players of recent years – George North.

“In all, or almost all, of their (Six Nations) matches they had the opportunity to play on equal terms with their opponents for certain moments.

“In the second half against Scotland and in the first hour of the battles against England and France, so the defeats that have come are not really that bad.”


Quesada has made three changes from the side that defeated Scotland 31-29 in Rome, with Lorenzo Panni replacing injured full-back Ange Capuozzo. Welsh-born Gloucester scrum-half Stephen Varney is preferred to Martin Page-Relo, who is among the replacements, and Lorenzo Cannone starts at number eight.

Capuozzo, who created Italy’s winning try against Wales two years ago, is sidelined due to a broken finger.

Quesada added: “Ange was hurt during a Scottish try in the first half. He played more than half of the match against Scotland with a fractured third finger on his left hand.

“During the week he tried to train with special protection, but after a short time we realised that it would have been impossible to have him available.

“Varney has the right characteristics to start this match. And then Page-Relo is also a footballer, and in the last half-hour this could be an option.”

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